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About Solar Energy
Solar power is energy from the sun that is transformed into thermal or electrical energy.
Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable resource source available, and the United States has some of the richest solar resources worldwide. Modern innovation can harness this energy for a variety of usages, consisting of producing electricity, supplying light or a comfortable interior environment, and heating water for domestic, commercial, or industrial usage.
Solar power makes it possible for house owners to use the sun to power everyday life: running your ac system, cleaning clothes, watching TV, cooking supper. All while minimizing your carbon footprint, and without burning fossil fuels or putting a stress on the electrical grid. And while the ecological advantages of solar power are substantial, numerous homeowners find that the convenience, special features, and cost savings of owning a solar power system are a lot more alluring.
Top 10 Advantages of Solar Energy
#1 Dramatically decrease and even remove your electrical costs
Whether you're a house owner, company, or not-for-profit, electrical energy costs can make up a large portion of your month-to-month expenditures. With a photovoltaic panel system, you'll generate free power for your system's entire 25+ year lifecycle. Even if you do not produce One Hundred Percent of the energy you take in, solar will decrease your utility bills and you'll still save a great deal of loan.
#2 Make an excellent return on your investment
Photovoltaic panels aren't a cost-- they are among the best ways to invest, with returns rivaling those of more traditional financial investments like stocks and bonds. Thanks to considerable electricity costs cost savings, the typical American homeowner pays off their solar panel system in 7 to 8 years and sees an ROI of 20 percent or more.
#3 Protect versus rising energy costs
Among the most clear cut benefits of solar panels is the capability to hedge energy prices. In the previous 10 years, residential electrical energy rates have increased by an average of three percent every year. By buying a solar energy system now, you can repair your electricity rate and safeguard versus unforeseeable boosts in electricity expenses. If you're a service or homeowner with rising and falling capital, going solar also helps you much better projection and manage your expenditures.
#4 Increase your home worth
Numerous studies have actually found that houses equipped with solar energy systems have greater home values and sell quicker than non-solar homes. Appraisers are progressively taking solar installations into consideration as they value houses at the time of a sale, and as homebuyers become more educated about solar, demand for homes equipped with photovoltaic panel systems will continue to grow.
#5 Boost U.S. energy self-reliance
The sun is a near-infinite source of energy and a crucial component of accomplishing energy independence in the United States. By increasing our capability to create electricity from the sun, we can also insulate our country from price changes in global energy markets.
#6 Develop jobs and assist your local economy
According to The Solar Structure, the solar market included tasks at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the total U.S. economy in 2015, representing 1.2 percent of all jobs in the country. This development is anticipated to continue. Due to the fact that solar-related tasks have the tendency to be higher paying and can not be outsourced, they are a substantial contributor to the U.S. economy.
#7 Protect the environment
Solar is a great method to lower your carbon footprint. Structures are accountable for 38 percent of all carbon emissions in the United States, and going solar can substantially decrease that number. A common residential photovoltaic panel system will remove 3 to 4 lots of carbon emissions each year-- the equivalent of planting over 100 trees each year.
#8 Demonstrate your dedication to sustainability
Sustainability and corporate social obligation are very important parts of an organization's culture and values. They also produce bottom line outcomes. Significantly, customers and communities are recognizing and rewarding services that opt to run properly. Businesses are discovering that "green" credentials are a powerful driver of customer getting decisions, developing goodwill and enhancing business results.
#9 Start Conserving from Day 1
Solar purchase power contracts (PPAs) and solar leasing has made it possible for house owners to go solar for little or no loan down.
Many property owners decide to fund their solar panels with among the "pay-as-you-go" funding choices. This indicates that a third-party business-- the solar provider-- owns the planetary system and looks after installation, upkeep, monitoring and repairs. You just pay the solar company for electrical power-- less than you would've paid the utility business.
As of June 2013, 75% of all American houses have access to pay-as-you-go solar.
#10. Solar is a Secure Investment
The utility companies are notorious for their changing and unreliable electricity costs. There is clearly an upward pattern.
With photovoltaic panels and easy mathematics, we can determine how much electrical energy will be generated, and most importantly, at what rate, for a minimum of the next Twenty Years (repaired energy expenses).
What are the various payment options?
We have many flexible purchasing agreements for customers who would like to install a new home solar system. There are three different payment options, making them a viable choice for customers of all budgets. The payment options include Lease, PPA, and Purchase.
- Low, fixed payments each month
- System insurance for 20 years, including maintenance
- Flexible end-of-term options, including system upgrade, lease extension, and free panel removal
Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
- We own the solar panel system
- $0 down for installation
- Customers only pay for the solar energy that they use
- Customer pays for the system upfront and owns the system
- System monitoring and maintenance for 20 years
- Receive 30% federal tax credit
- See a return on investment within 7-10 years
What happens when the contract for my lease is finished?
We provide our customers with a few different options for when their lease contract is up. Customers can upgrade their equipment to the newest solar technology available, extend the agreement, or have the panels removed at no cost.
What is the warranty?
The Lease and PPA include a 20-year warranty during the lifetime of the system. This warranty exceeds that of most other solar installers’ warranties.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Make A Solar Panel To Power My House?
Or Where Can I Get One Already Made?
Is It Reasonable?
You may want to think about building your own solar panels…
Let me start off by saying we (Agua-Luna) are a non-profit organization that live, promote & teach 100% “off grid” living & complete self sufficiency”. To give you an idea of this, we typically don’t leave the Ranch but once or twice a year.
The following steps were taking directly out of a DIY guide I offer to those who would like to run their homes on solar power, reducing their monthly utility bills or even selling power back the electrical companies. The entire guide is available at http://www.agua-luna.com/diy_guides.html. It’s pretty simple but if you have any problems feel free to email us directly at [email protected] we can walk you threw the process.
Materials you will need…
A sheet of copper flashing from the hardware store. This normally costs about $5.00 per square foot. We will need about half a square foot.
Two alligator clip leads.
A sensitive micro-ammeter that can read currents between 10 & 50 microamperes. Radio Shack sells small LCD multimeters that will do, but I used a small surplus meter with a needle.
An electric stove. My kitchen stove is gas, so I bought a small one-burner electric hotplate for about $25. The little 700 watt burners probably won't work -- mine is 1100 watts, so the burner gets red hot.
A large clear plastic bottle off of which you can cut the top. I used a 2 liter spring water bottle. A large mouth glass jar will also work.
Table salt. We will want a couple tablespoons of salt.
Sand paper or a wire brush on an electric drill.
Sheet metal shears for cutting the copper sheet.
The first step is to cut a piece of the copper sheeting that is about the size of the burner on the stove. Wash your hands so they don't have any grease or oil on them. Then wash the copper sheet with soap or cleanser to get any oil or grease off of it. Use the sandpaper or wire brush to thoroughly clean the copper sheeting, so that any sulphide or other light corrosion is removed.
Next, place the cleaned & dried copper sheet on the burner & turn the burner to its highest setting.
As the copper starts to heat up, you will see beautiful oxidation patterns begin to form. Oranges, purples, & reds will cover the copper.
As the copper gets hotter, the colors are replaced with a black coating of cupric oxide. This is not the oxide we want, but it will flake off later, showing the reds, oranges, pinks, & purples of the cuprous oxide layer underneath.
The last bits of color disappear as the burner starts to glow red.
When the burner is glowing red-hot, the sheet of copper will be coated with a black cupric oxide coat. Let it cook for a half an hour, so the black coating will be thick. This is important, since a thick coating will flake off nicely, while a thin coat will stay stuck to the copper.
After the half hour of cooking, turn off the burner. Leave the hot copper on the burner to cool slowly. If you cool it too quickly, the black oxide will stay stuck to the copper.
As the copper cools, it shrinks. The black cupric oxide also shrinks. But they shrink at different rates, which makes the black cupric oxide flake off.
The little black flakes pop off the copper with enough force to make them fly a few inches. This means a little more cleaning effort around the stove, but it is fun to watch.
When the copper has cooled to room temperature (this takes about 20 minutes), most of the black oxide will be gone. A light scrubbing with your hands under running water will remove most of the small bits. Resist the temptation to remove all of the black spots by hard scrubbing or by flexing the soft copper. This might damage the delicate red cuprous oxide layer we need to make to solar cell work.
Cut another sheet of copper about the same size as the first one. Bend both pieces gently, so they will fit into the plastic bottle or jar without touching one another. The cuprous oxide coating that was facing up on the burner is usually the best side to face outwards in the jar, because it has the smoothest, cleanest surface.
Attach the two alligator clip leads, one to the new copper plate, & one to the cuprous oxide coated plate. Connect the lead from the clean copper plate to the positive terminal of the meter. Connect the lead from the cuprous oxide plate to the negative terminal of the meter.
Now mix a couple tablespoons of salt into some hot tap water. Stir the saltwater until all the salt is dissolved. Then carefully pour the saltwater into the jar, being careful not to get the clip leads wet. The saltwater should not completely cover the plates -- you should leave about an inch of plate above the water, so you can move the solar cell around without getting the clip leads wet.
now place in the sun with the magnified on top.
The solar cell is a battery, even in the dark, & will usually show a few microamps of current.
That’s it it’s that simple. If you’d a more detailed process & some pics (could
South Facing Solar Panels?
So I Reckon It'S Time To Install Some Of These Bad Boys. It'S Come To Point Where Electricity Providers Are Charging Such Extortionate Amounts That I Can Definitely See These Reaping Huge Rewards Before Long. (Okay I Might Be Exaggerating A Little - They Are Pretty Costly Themselves).
The Problem Is I'Ve Read Around That They'Re Only Fitted To South Facing Houses? Why So? Why Can'T They Be Installed On The Rear Side Of The Roof - The Side Facing The Garden? My House Is Facing North, So The Front Door Leads North. Could I Have Solar Panels Installed On The Back? (That'S Basically My Question, With A Bit Of A Rant Too Lol).
You want the panels facing south because that is where they would get the most sunlight throughout the day. If your front door is facing north, then the back of your house would be facing south, right? So put them up in the back where they are facing south...haha wtf..
What Percent Of Your Friends Who Voted For Obama, Installed Solar Panels On Their Roof In The Last Two Years?
none, as far as I know... I don't think they could afford solar panels before the recession, never mind now.
What Solar Energy Projects Are Cost Effective?
Are Photovoltaic Cost Justified?
Are Solar Water Heaters Cost Justified?
Is A Windmill On Windy Property Cost Justified?
From a mico-economic (personal) perspective conservation often holds the most pay back dollars. Photovoltaic systems in the lab are now around 40% efficient with projections up to around 60%. What you can currently buy is around 14% efficient. This does not mean the same thing as a fueled system where operating costs are the primary consideration, but it does have an impact on how much of a system you will have to buy. Photovoltaics are still dependent upon subsidies and tax credits.
Solar water heaters depend upon a different principal. Solar thermal collectors are from 60 to 80% efficient now. The vacuum tube collectors are effective in cloudy weather and in cold environments. There are several reasons for this. Getting heat from the sun goes back thousands of years and there were solar thermal panels and water heaters in California in the early part of the 20th century. So it is a much older technology. Also the inefficient part of the photovoltaic systems are partially because of reflected energy and energy that is transformed to heat. A solar hot water system to get around 80% of required domestic hot water has a pay back period of 2 to 3 years. After this the savings go in the bank. This makes solar hot water systems cost effective.
Other solar thermal applications would include more south facing windows and a solar room (greenhouse.)
Solar thermal is also being used on a large scale to produce electricity. Pilot plants have three main designs:
Power towers where heliostats reflect sunlight onto a target. This system seems to work well as a hybrid with a gas fired power plant to take over when needed.
A hyperbolic dish reflector eliminates the need for much of the moving hardware of the above needed to track the sun.
A trough collector system eliminates even more of the tracking hardware. There are several other options.1
But I haven't seen any numbers that indicate that these facilities are competitive without the subsidies that nuclear, petrochemicals or coal receives There are advocates that propose to strip all subsidies but this would collapse the nuclear industry2 and who knows where the others would fall.
Wind energy is very close to par. I have seen some numbers around 6 cents per kwh with the goal being around 5 cents per kwh. Again not counting the "true cost of coal." But the problem with any renewable source regardless of its efficiency or cost effectiveness is that it will only work with some kind of a back up system To the extent that this is "the grid" and someone can be producing when someone is not the cost of duplication will have to be compared to the cost of overbuilding and the increase in efficiency over the current systems production which is around 30%.
To the extent that we have to build more storage into our grid, be it batteries, flywheels, pumped hydro, CAES or something else, it will become more efficient but will also have a price tag associated with it. This is progress.3
But just where do you want to stop considering the financial issues? Solar would be a "domestic" product where, for the US both nuclear fuel and petrochemicals are imports. Protecting the foreign supplies is our very expensive military. India and China are huge nations that want more industrialization. This will be dependent upon energy. Will we use our military to make sure neither of these countries become industrialized? If competition makes our supplies dwindle our costly military may be of little help to us. The silent subsidy of our military may then be more of a liability than a benefit to our energy policy.
Coal fuels slightly less than 50% of our electrical grid. But there are costs in pollution from this activity that go beyond what we pay for each kwh of electricity. I lost a slate roof to acid rain. If I were to add the cost of replacing that roof to my electric bills it would appear that coal can be quite expensive. This is not to speak of health issues or their cost and associated suffering.4
When Does A Pv Panel Pay For Itself?
Now I Know That Many Would Say We Should Do It Out Of Principle, But I'M Only Going To Do It If It Actually Pays Off. I'M All About Taking Care Of The Earth God Gave Us, But I Have To Be Practical Until I'Ve Got A Few More Bucks To Play With.
So... What Is The Most Cost Effective Solar Energy Source For A Single Family Home, And How Long Before I Can Expect It To Pay For Itself.
I Also Realize, Of Course, That There Are A Lot Of Variables In Here, The Biggest Of Which Is The Efficiency Of The Home Itself. Efficiency Upgrades Are The First Steps We Are Looking To Take, But I Am Interested In Pv Technology As Well.
In general solar thermal applications will pay for themselves faster than solar photovoltaic panels. This is because although photovoltaic panels in the lab have achieved efficiencies of around 40%, the ones you buy only achieve around 14%. Solar thermal panels can be 60 to 80% efficient. The technology is hundreds if not thousands of years old and much cheaper. The solar thermal vacuum tube collectors will work on cloudy and cold days.
But governmental and utility incentives help to bring down the payback period of photovoltaic as well. In general the more use you make of a photovoltaic system the quicker the pay back period. So it may not be cost effective to put in a geothermal heat pump and power it with photovoltaic. Cheaper electric resistance heat seems to work better.
With solar thermal cost will rise as you go from 80% to 100% usage. Depending upon the alternatives an 80% capacity system may pay back better than a 100% system.
Hot water systems can have pay back periods of 3 years or less.
solar heating applications may have a pay back period of 7 years or less.
Solar air conditioning is the latest entry into the solar thermal field and I have not yet seen payback numbers on this.
Payback periods of 10 to 20 years are not uncommon.
Using an electric car helps to lower the cost as does time of use metering with the grid as a "storage device." Below is an interesting article about the payback of a photovoltaic system that helps give the tesla roadster a 72 mile range using solar electricity alone.